New BCG Book Helps Family Businesses Overcome Inevitable Conflicts

Authors guide family business leaders to thoughtful, personalized approaches to preventing and mitigating conflict that can destroy business value

Mumbai, India, August 9, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Family businesses are particularly at risk due to likely conflicts between family members. But that doesn’t have to be the case. According to a new book by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) being published today.

In Unraveling Conflict: An Introspective Guide for Families in Businessauthors Janmejaya Sinha, Carol Liao, Ryoji Kimuraand Brittany Montgomery draw on their long experience of working in business strategy and family business dynamics to provide an invaluable reference manual for all family business owners looking for better ways to manage intra-family conflict.

According to Sinha, lead author and president of BCG India, “Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to deal with it.’ My co-authors and I want to empower families to discover the answers for themselves by asking questions that go beyond their deeply held assumptions and provoke the uncomfortable conversations they need to have before conflicts arise or escalate.”

The book begins with sound advice that helps family business owners think deeply about the defining attributes of their family and their relationship to the business. It then unravels the tangled threads of conflict within family businesses by examining emotionally charged issues, those related to property rights, benefits and restrictions, and questions of business strategy.

“By exploring these three strands of conflict, our intention is to help families understand, prevent and respond to disagreements without disrupting the business,” says Liao, senior partner and president of BCG in Greater China.

The issues addressed in Untangling conflicts are many. There are intergenerational disputes – between the “former statesman” founders and their foreign-educated sons and daughters, for example. In family businesses, disputes often escalate over the roles of in-laws and non-family members. Among the most serious of all clashes are those over values, for example between a profit-minded executive and a family member who values ​​environmental causes.

“It is critical to the long-term health of any family business to identify the most damaging patterns of conflict so that those conflicts can be resolved openly,” said Kimura, senior partner and global head of the Corporate Finance & Strategy practice at BCG.

The book cites data from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimating that 80% of businesses worldwide are family-owned. In emerging markets, notes the IFC, family businesses represent the largest source of job creation in the private sector and the majority of micro, small and medium enterprises. About 300 of the top 500 revenue-generating companies in India and South Korea are family-owned, while in the US and UK only around 7% of the top 500 companies are family-owned.

The book concludes by offering tools to align expectations and reduce friction between families, non-family employees, and family business partners.

Untangling conflicts is published by Penguin Enterprise, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Printed copies can be purchased at: https://www.amazon.in/Untangling-Conflict-Introspective-Families-Business-Hardcover/dp/0670096954.

For more information, visit: https://www.bcg.com/capabilities/corporate-finance-strategy/family-business.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Grégoire
at +1 617 850 3783 or [email protected].

About Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to address their biggest challenges and seize their biggest opportunities. BCG pioneered business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we work closely with our clients to take a transformational approach to benefit all stakeholders, enabling organizations to grow, create a sustainable competitive advantage and have a positive societal impact.

Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives that challenge the status quo and spark change. BCG delivers solutions through cutting-edge management consulting, technology and design, and digital business and enterprise. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the business and across all levels of the client organization, fueled by the goal of helping our clients thrive and empowering them to make the world a better place.

SOURCEBoston Consulting Group (BCG)

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